Jason Pierre-Paul: 'Emotions running big' in facing Giants

ByJordan Raanan ESPN logo
Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Jason Pierre-Paul may not be hurt that the New York Giants traded him to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers last offseason. He still found it "shocking" that all he received upon his exit were phone calls from general manager Dave Gettleman and quarterback Eli Manning.

Nothing from ownership as far as he's aware, although a source said that Giants co-owner John Mara did try to reach out via text the day of the trade but did not hear back

"I wouldn't say hurt. Just the fact that the only thing I got was a phone call. You know what I'm saying?" Pierre-Paul said on a conference call with reporters four days ahead of a return to MetLife Stadium, where the Giants host the Bucs. "I didn't speak to no owners or nothing. Obviously, I gave a hard eight years with the New York Giants and won a Super Bowl there, and the only thing you get is a phone call. I wouldn't say I was hurt but it was just shocking. You know what I mean?

"At the end of the day this is a business league. At the end of the day, we have to do our jobs no matter what team we play for. You're a football player, you're a pro, so you've got to do your job to the best of your ability. That's what I've been doing."

Pierre-Paul has 8.0 sacks this season, almost matching his total from last year. He had 8.5 sacks in his final season with the Giants.

"Honestly, I had this game checked off since I left there," Pierre-Paul said. "Emotions running big. I'm coming, man. I'm bringing the house down."

Pierre-Paul said there is no chip on his shoulder, even after the Giants had signed him to a lucrative new deal under the previous regime a year earlier.

"Obviously, New York felt like I couldn't get the job done," he said. "I don't know who makes those decisions but that was the decision that was made when I got traded."

The 2010 first-round pick had an up-and-down run with the Giants. Pierre-Paul had 16.5 sacks and helped them to a Super Bowl victory during the 2011 season. He made a pair of Pro Bowls and later returned to play at a high level after his career seemed to be in jeopardy following a 2015 Fourth of July fireworks accident that cost him his right index finger and parts of several others.

Manning was the one player who did call Pierre-Paul after the trade. Pierre-Paul also received a text from long-snapper Zak DeOssie and heard from safety Landon Collins and several other teammates. And then it was off to Tampa Bay.

With the Bucs, Pierre-Paul says he's "playing great ball, obviously." He leads the team in sacks (8.0) and quarterback hits (13) and is also tied for the lead in tackles for a loss (9) on a defense that has struggled this season.

The Giants' defense, which is ranked near the bottom/middle of the pack in most categories, has just 10 sacks this season. Only the Oakland Raiders have fewer. Rookie Lorenzo Carter leads the Giants with five tackles for a loss.

"Numbers speak for themselves. I can't really say much, but I'm not even worried about the sacks and how much the Giants have on their team," Pierre-Paul said. "Like I said, I'm just playing some great football and I'm just blessed to be getting the opportunity to keep on playing this game that I love. I'm going to walk away from it when I walk away from it, but until then, I'm just going to keep on being a great player that I am and obviously come Sunday, I'm going to go out there and do what I normally do, go 110 percent and just fly to the ball."

Pierre-Paul faces a favorable matchup to do more damage against his former team. The Giants have allowed 32 sacks this season, and right tackle Chad Wheeler has struggled badly at times.

"I wouldn't say licking my chops, but I know it's a problem," Pierre-Paul said. "But like I said, that's not my problem. I'm on the Bucs and I'm doing a great job here and I'm loving it."